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The Evocation Wizard's 14th level ability Overchannel says (in part):

When you cast a wizard spell of 5th level or lower that deals damage, you can deal maximum damage with that spell.

I assume you compute the maximum damage and then if there is a save and the creature makes it, they take half of the maximum, but as written, it kind of sounds like you can deal maximum damage without allowing a save.

Spells don't actually specify when the damage is "dealt" (before or after the save). They typically say that the creature "takes" ndX points of (some type of) damage, or half on a successful save. If damage isn't "dealt" until it is "taken" then you would read this as "you deal ndX points points of (some type of) damage, or half on a successful save" and the amount that "you deal" (being that long ndX or half on a save clause) is replaced by "maximum damage".

RAI, I'm sure they are still supposed to get their save for half. But RAW I don't think it is actually that clear.

Thoughts?

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It doesn't say that the save is negated, so it remains. You still deal maximum damage, as it says, just as if you had rolled for it. After dealing that damage, they may save to mitigate the damage, as usual when such damage is dealt.

Overchannel does only what it says: it changes how much damage the spell deals. When a spell that offers a saving throw deals damage, you figure out the damage first and then the saving throw second, and it works like that regardless of Overchannel's effect. Overchannel just changes how you figure the damage, nothing after.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Spells don't actually specify when the damage is "dealt" (before or after the save). They typically say that the creature "takes" X points of (some type of) damage, or half on a successful save. I would think damage isn't "dealt" until it is "taken". \$\endgroup\$ – PurpleVermont Aug 8 '15 at 5:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleVermont The words “deal”, “take”, “inflict” — whichever — mean the same thing they always do. By the logic you offer, a normal fireball that deals 8d6 damage would also bypass the saving throw, because “it says it deals 8d6 damage, not 8d6 ÷ 2 damage.” Clearly that makes no sense, so the logic is invalid and must be discarded in both cases. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 8 '15 at 5:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ the spell says it deals "8d6 OR half on a successful save" which is consistent with how it is normally played. The question is, does the 8d6 get replaced with 8x6, or does the whole phrase explaining what gets dealt get replaced? I agree that what makes sense is that the 8d6 gets replaced by 8x6 and the saves act as normal. But I don't agree that as written, that is obvious. \$\endgroup\$ – PurpleVermont Aug 8 '15 at 6:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ That would be overthinking it. And making it kinda overpowered. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 8 '15 at 7:07
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I agree. You get max rolls, but the damage is still affected by other abilities and rules. If it was literal it would ignore resistance as well, which I doubt was the idea behind Overchannel.

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